Tom's Wild Years

Hasse Poulsen: voice, guitar

Peter Corser: tenor saxophone, clarinet, voice

Glenn Ferris: trombone, harmonica

Bent Clausen: vibraphone, marimba, banjo, voice

Emmanuel Borghi: piano, keyboards

Henrik Simonsen: double bass

Tim Lutte: drums & percussion

Tom's Wild Years band photo by Bruce Milpied

Tom's Wild Years is a very special project. As the title indicates it is a program of songs by and around Tom Waits.

Tom Waits is a huge inspiration for me as a musician and I have listened to his music almost all my life. The raw sound, the great musicians, the evocative stories, his characteristic voice creates a universe that is eternally inspiring.

So when Armand Meignan, the director of the Europa Jazz Festival in Le Mans, talked about doing a project around the songs of Tom Waits I was more than happy to go with the idea.

I immediately thought of 6 musicians, and were allowed to hire them for the project :

For the Rhythm section Henrik Simonsen on double bass and Timothy Lutte on drums were the first choice. They are both close friends and we work together in my singer-song trio (Not Married Anymore will be released october 18th 2019) and they really know how to groove and play what makes you feel good.

Then I wanted to find work for my SighFire group-mates: The unique multi instrumentalist Peter Corser and the brilliant piano and keyboard player Emmanuel Borghi:

Some time ago I contacted Bent Clausen to ask him a question and noticed that he apart from being a great free jazz drummer and the bandleader for the world premiere of Tom Waits' Woyzeck (which I had seen) also has worked with Damon Albarn and Elvis Costello – two of my absolute favorite musicians. So I asked Bent to join us on vibes, marimba and banjo.

So I just needed a great soloist, and here I had the chance to invite trombonist Glenn Ferris. He is a complete master musician, which his impressive CV attests (check it out!).

So here was a band. All I had to do was select the tunes and learn to sing and play them. Of course there is no way that I would try to sound like Tom Waits in my singing. Why do that?

With only one exception: For some reason the Jungle book hit “I wanna be like you” by Sherman and Sherman imposed itself. Somehow this swinging orangutang made me think of Tom Waits and apart from the fact that this movie and this song has inspired countless children to become jazz musicians the whole idea of trying to copy Tom waits copying Louis Prima copying Louis Armstrong appealed to me. So there I go with the growl.

Otherwise the tunes have been arranged in very different ways than Tom did on his records: Invitation to the Blues and Telephone Call From Istanbul are in 7/8 others have changed from 4/4 time to becoming waltzes - or the other way around. The thing is that we are jazz musicians! We want freedom! So the arrangements must give a maximum of freedom to each musician and inspire everybody to improvise and play their best. And I do think everyone does. This is a very happy orchestra!

In 2020 we will play at the festivals Jazz sous les Pommiers, Rendez-vous sur l'Erdre, and D'jazz Nevers and hopefully other venues and festivals will feel like inviting us as well.

Check out the concert in Le Mans on YouTube:

it is also possible to watch the tunes individually:

Telephone call from Istanbul:

Hasse Poulsen: voice, guitar: Hasse Poulsen is a 100% contemporary musician enjoying nothing more than giving unexpected turns to his music. As a guitarist he has played with the top of French contemporary jazz since moving to Paris in 1997. He has always been an active singer also writing his own songs and released his first record as a singer-song writer in 2014. His motto is: always expect art to be where you least expect to find it.

Peter Corser: tenor saxophone, clarinet, voice Peter Corser is a very personal and accomplished multi-instrumentalist who since he arrived in France in 1995 has played with an impressive list of musicians and choreographers. As a tenor saxophonist he has developed a recognizable and strong style around circular breathing. This Tecnique and the compositions Corser makes around it is the base for much of his music as the music of SighFire the group he co-leads with Hasse Poulsen.

Glenn Ferris

Glenn Ferris: trombone, harmonica Glenn Ferris is simply a master musician: His ability to always do the right thing in the right place has made him the first choice for bandleaders such as Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, Billy Cobham... and almost any of the greatest jazz musicians from Europe and the US you can think of. He also leads his own bands and writes some beautiful compositions.

Bent Clausen: vibraphone, marimba, banjo, voice Bent Clausen started out many years ago as a young drum prodigy on the inventive part of the Danish music scene. He played rock or jazz and anything and became a stablemate of the Copenhagen scene and the band New Jungle Orchestra. One day he was asked to be the musical director of the world premiere of Tom Waits musical Woyzeck and he worked seven years with Waits, recording , touring and directing the English version of The Black Rider. Later on he has worked with Gorillaz, Elvis Costello, to mention just them.

Emmanuel Borghi

Emmanuel Borghi: piano, keyboards Emmanuel Borghi is a highly accomplished jazz pianist that is better known as a keyboard player in various Christian Vander groups: Magma, trio... He co-leads the group Himiko with his wife Himiko Paganotti and his trio as well as participating in a string of other groups.

Henrik S Simonsen

Henrik Simonsen: double bass Henrik Simonsen – or Henrik Simon Simonsen – is a classically trained bass player who plays almost any style imaginable. He is the bass player on all the musical productions at Det Ny Teater in Copenhagen and has played with all kinds of band leaders in Denmark from popular music to jazz and experimental.


Tim Lutte: drums & percussion Classically trained percussionist Tim Lutte was raised in Philadelphia in the US but love brought him to Denmark where his mastery of all American drum styles is highly appreciated. With Henrik Simonsen he is the choice drummer at Det Ny Teater and has been the drummer on shows at Broadway, NYC and has toured all over the US.



TOM WAITS (photo Armand Meignan)




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